Tag Archives: Sonya Smith

TSU Faculty and Staff Celebrate Giving With ‘Sweet Talk’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Department of Dental Hygiene received special recognition at the university’s “Sweet Talk” event, along with the Office of Events Management and the Department of Residence Life.

Each area achieved 100 percent participation in the university’s annual faculty and staff giving campaign, which raises money to benefit TSU students.

Sonya Smith, assistant director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, thanks ‘Sweet Talk’ attendees for giving as part of faculty and staff giving campaign.

“Some made direct deposits. Some made one-time gifts. But what matters most is the sacrifice,” said Sonya Smith, assistant director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving and chair of the campaign. “Whatever your sacrifice is, we just ask you to be a part of the faculty and staff campaign.”

The event, which took place Feb. 14 on the Avon Williams Campus, provided an opportunity for campus employees to enjoy delicious pastries and discuss the importance of supporting students beyond the classroom.

Smith expressed her gratitude to the campaign co-chairs and various contributors for exceeding their goal of $155,000 for the 2017-2018 fiscal year by raising $161,763.  She said the goal for the current fiscal year is to raise $175,000. The campaign has raised $136,000 of that amount.

Rosalyn Word, a faculty member in the Department of Dental Hygiene and a co-chair of the faculty and staff annual giving campaign, expressed excitement about the effects of increased giving in dental hygiene.

Department of Dental Hygiene Faculty and Staff Members

“One of the things that we have been able to do in the Department of Dental Hygiene is establish a dental hygiene academic scholarship. The first year we were able to award one $1,000 scholarship to a deserving student,” Word said. “This year we were able to award two $1,000 scholarships to our dental hygiene students. I am really excited about that initiative, and we hope to be able to carry this legacy on, and keep this scholarship going.”

Eloise Alexis, associate vice president for Institutional Advancement, said Sweet Talk provides an opportunity for her staff to say thank you to participants and ask attendees to rally others to support students.

“The amazing thing about faculty and staff in this initiative is that, not only do they give of themselves all day and everyday in the classroom and as staff by supporting our students in the campus environment, they also give back to Tennessee State University from their hard earned resources to Tennessee State,” Alexis said.

Office of Events Management and Conference Services Administration and Staff Members

Trudie Thomas, coordinator for the Honors College and a co-chair of the campaign, said Sweet Talk helps a lot of students who really need support to attend the university.

“I like to give because it helps the university, and it has an impact on some child’s life. When I was in school tuition was $65 a quarter,” said Thomas, who graduated from TSU in 1972. “I give because I see the need, especially with black students right now. Education is an investment.”

“Sweet Talk” Committee Members show off variety of tasty desserts prepared by TSU Alum Alexis Hughes-Williams, Owner of Something Sweet, LLC.

TSU Alumna Alexis Hughes-Williams, owner of Something Sweet, LLC, provided a variety of colorful desserts for the event. Hughes-Williams, who graduated in 2011 with a degree in business/marketing, said Sweet Talk provided the perfect opportunity for her “virtual pop-up shop” to collaborate with the university.

With the deadline for reaching this year’s goal being June 30, Smith encourages faculty and staff to continue giving. For more information about how to participate in the campaign, call (615) 963-2936.


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Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.